Ordinance will be the strictest of its kind in the state.
Oakland has moved to become the first city in the state to ban landlords from investigating the criminal history of renters applying for both public and private housing.
The Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, which the City Council passed unanimously Tuesday evening, will prohibit landlords from rejecting a potential tenant because of a prior criminal conviction. Landlords will not be allowed to ask about an applicant’s criminal history, or require the applicant to disclose it through a background check.
Supporters say the measure will help ensure residents released from prison are able to reintegrate back into society, hold down a job and provide for their families, instead of adding to Oakland’s homeless population. But some landlord groups worry the measure will sacrifice residents’ safety.
The measure passed in an 8-0 initial vote, and requires one more vote — set for Feb. 4 — before it will go into effect.
“This is incredibly timely, given our collective commitment and my personal commitment to addressing homelessness and housing in our city,” Councilwoman Nikki Fortunato Bas, one of the ordinance’s sponsors, said during Tuesday’s council meeting.